Real Men

Surrender, stand and serve


When Chuck Hughes, superintendent of the Alliance’s Southeastern District, asked me to lead our district’s men’s ministry in 2010, my initial response was an emphatic no. Knowing how busy my life had become and how limited my margins were, I was afraid to commit to such an important role.

But after prayerful consideration and consultation with my discerning wife, I realized that this was something God wanted me to do. I knew there was a significant need for someone to lead the men in our district, so I accepted the call, trusting that God would release me from some of my other duties (which He did). But this left little time to prepare for the upcoming annual district men’s retreat, which was just a few months away. Despite the short notice, 68 men attended.

After some meaningful discussion about the importance of investing more deeply in the care of our souls, our families, our churches and communities, my three-part challenge to the men was simple:

  • Conduct eight events a year with the men from your local church. If you don’t have a men’s group, start one.
  • Ask God to send you one man to disciple over the next year. Don’t try to convert the whole world; just invest in the one God sends to you and bring him to next year’s men’s retreat.
  • Set aside a little money every month to go toward a future missions trip.

This challenge has been duplicated many times, and we are seeing dynamic results. In 2011, 182 men attended our annual retreat, five of whom made decisions to follow Jesus. In 2012, 240 men showed up, and 36 placed their lives in His hands. In the months that followed, we prayed, planned and started squirreling away some of our income so we could be ready to respond to what God would have us do.

That answer came quickly. God revealed a vision for us to join our hearts and hands to help with a work He was doing in the Bahamas, and Mission 2013 was born. That summer, 80 men from our district gathered to raise the walls on the second story of the school at the Chapel on the Hill, an Alliance church in Nassau. The fruits of that trip are an incredible example of what God can do through men who are unified around a common goal with a shared passion to see God’s purposes fulfilled.

Through various teams sent over a four-week period, we:

  • Repaired multiple leaks on the roofs of the main church building, school administration building and guest house,
  • Replaced all air conditioning units,
  • Repaired faulty plumbing and electrical wiring,
  • Built a hand-powered crane to raise material to the second story,
  • Screened and mixed mud for the 4,900 blocks that we later laid,
  • Tied up the steel for the main structure, and
  • Built all of the forms for the pilings and beams and poured 55 yards of concrete for the second story of the school.

Many of the men were so moved by what God was doing that they gave of their personal resources to complete the project.

And God did much more than fortify a school. The day before our work ended, a man from the local community who was assisting us with material purchases and construction said that he could not believe this many men would come and give of their time and money to help this school. At that point the Holy Spirit moved in his heart, and he prayed to receive Christ. What a miraculous and rewarding end to four weeks of intense hard work and prayer for this man! He has since been attending weekly Bible studies with his sister and following through on his commitment to follow hard after Jesus.

There are many challenges in bringing a group of men together. The hardest part is getting started. Any one of us can give a dozen reasons why we shouldn’t commit. Granted, we’re all busy people and feel like we’re spread too thin to take on more activities. But when it comes down to it—if we’re truly honest with ourselves—many of us remain on the sidelines because we suffer from self-doubt or feel unqualified to serve, which is exactly what the enemy of our souls would have us believe. He’ll say or do anything to keep us from joining God in His work.

By trusting Him and remaining accountable to one another, we become better husbands, fathers, friends and leaders—at home, at church and in our careers.

But when men begin to come together, dissect God’s Word and support each other through our trials and failures, amazing things begin to happen. The enemy’s lies are dispelled, and we come to realize that God invites us not primarily because of our qualifications but out of our willingness to serve, even in our brokenness. By trusting Him and taking a few risks—small ones at first—we grow into the reality that He uses the few loaves and fishes we place in His hands to feed the masses.

And this principle doesn’t just apply to missions trips. By trusting Him and remaining accountable to one another, we become better husbands, fathers, friends and leaders—at home, at church and in our careers.

The momentum continues to build among the men in the Southeastern District. This past fall, 284 men attended our annual retreat, and five put their faith in Christ. Last month, in the first of a series of regional meetings, two men—one, a Buddhist—surrendered their lives to the one, true Savior. Numerous other men confessed sin and requested prayer to help them ward off the attacks of the evil one. It was an incredible display of God’s power over the darkness that creeps into our lives.

In addition, our men are “pumped” about our return to the Bahamas this month to complete the second floor of the school. We hope to add the cantilevers and columns and get the roof installed. But we are even more excited about how God will work in our hearts and the hearts of those we serve.

My hope in writing this article is that it will awaken and encourage Alliance men across the country. The message is clear and simple: It’s time to stand up and be the REAL MEN—the leaders, protectors, builders and Jesus-proclaiming ambassadors­—God created us to be.

If you are a district men’s leader or thinking of starting an Alliance men’s ministry in your church or district, please feel free to visit our Web site at www.sedalliancemen.org or e-mail me at timhugg1@comcast.net.

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